Following filings July 15 to FERC and other federal agencies related to its pending $9.4 billion PacifiCorp sale, ScottishPower announced last Tuesday that its shareholders overwhelmingly endorsed the sale of its utility holdings in the United States, with more than 99% of the shares approving the deal at an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting following the annual general meeting last Friday in Glasgow, Scotland.
In contrast to more than 1 billion shares voted for the sale, some 1.5 million voted against it, and another 2.6 million were withheld, the United Kingdom-based energy company said in an announcement on its website.
Separately, ScottishPower said both PacifiCorp and its U.S.-based utility buyer, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., filed the required U.S. federal approvals with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Justice Department, and Federal Trade Commission. It also noted the shareholders' approval and earlier state regulatory filings in the six western states where PacifiCorp does business.
ScottishPower's senior management and the board recently promised shareholders more robust returns from other energy investments if the proposed multi-billion-dollar sale of its U.S. utility operations is successful. ScottishPower's board chairman and CEO both promised "very attractive returns" from taking the estimated $4.5 billion in net proceeds from selling PacifiCorp to MidAmerican Energy and investing in other energy ventures, both in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The deal can be wrapped up in the next 12 to 18 months, including state and federal regulatory approvals in the United States, according to board Chair Charles Miller Smith.
"We believe the decision to sell PacifiCorp -- although a tough one to make -- is the right one for our shareholders, enabling us to focus our management and capital on achieving growth and value from our continuing businesses [electric/natural gas distribution and transmission/generation in the UK and merchant power and gas storage in the United States]," Miller Smith said. The remaining businesses have shown a profit growth of 38% over the last two years, he told shareholders at the annual meeting, which was webcast over the Internet.
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